Sunday, June 30, 2013

Walking To Victoria

According to the photos in the camera, the following things happened in the three weeks since I last posted.

On June 14, I attended a field day at the west side of the mouth of the Elwha, where various little fishes were seined up, identified, measured, scanned for tiny embedded wire tags that say which hatchery they were born in, and let go again. There were lots of scientists, interns, and locals participating. The Peninsula Daily News had a very nice story about the day.

Elwha estuary, June 14, 2013. Two of the three ponds they seined. (Click for larger image.)

June 16, a deer hung around the neighborhood, performing such deer-ish tricks as eating all my landlady's beautiful new deep orange pansies, and parading down the middle of 8th Street grazing the yellow paint of the center line.

June 22, I went to Tukwila to a support group meeting for people with my kind of cancer.

June 25, LR texted the tribe's Education Director from out by the mouth of the Elwha on the tribe's side; there was a super-low tide, and she said we had to come out immediately, it's amazing. So we tumbled into the car and went. We were playing hooky from work in the education building, but when it was time to head back lest we miss Elder's Lunch (lasagna!!), I announced "I'm walking to Victoria!" and headed north toward the soft silty edge of the mudflats. LR and TH followed me out to as far as we could get. It was amazing.

LR rushing to greet us. The new silty lands at the mouth of the Elwha, June 26, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

June 25, picked WC up at the ferry, and June 26 we drove down to Portland for the bimonthly CT scans. I'm still stable, still in the clinical trial, still a science project. We did it as a day trip, left at 4:50 AM and made it home in time to put him on the 9:30 PM ferry.

Yet another ferry view, June 26, and the pylons for the new MAX light rail line, Portland, June 27, 2013. (Click for larger image.)

June 28, the canoes were out of the storage shed and arrayed on the lawn between the Education Building and the Tribal Center. Canoe journey is less than a month away, there must be practicing and preparation and cold-water training and all for the pullers.

Three of Elwha's four canoes. June 28, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

I never got to the ocean at all.

On the whole, every picture in the camera is as flat as my spirits these days. This is a beachbunny blog, supposed to be a mostly effortless, nearly chirpy picture of places gone and things seen. I don't much want to change the ground rules I set for myself and start posting lugubrious paragraphs about my state of mind. I also don't want it to be drudgery to post. Yet I don't want to lose three weeks at a time out of the record I have kept of my life since I decided to move up here, even if all I really want to do is read, not write. It's a puzzle.

Meanwhile, here is a picture showing the Elwha River's east and west shores and the shifting channels, taken by Mike McHenry of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe on June 11, 2013.

Elwha River overflight, June 11, 2013. Thanks to Mike McHenry and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe for this photo. (Click for larger image.)

Sorry. The image template changed, and I don't have time to deal with it. Am packing to leave for Santa Fe and then Florida at impossible AM. It will just have to be what it is until I get home.

This post is for KL and RC, who were worrying about my silence.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Sound of Waves

Which brings us to yesterday, June 9: I went to the ocean.

IJ asked for pictures of elk. No elk by the highway on Beaver Prairie. I drove via the side loop past Quillayute airport. No elk on Quillayute Prairie either. Only once have I seen them out on the prairies in the summer. Don't know where they go...

Except for one eagle sitting in the river, the only wildlife at all at all were the itty bitty flitty birds singing in the woods behind the beach. Never saw a one of them, but they were rocking out all afternoon. The only little birds I know by ear are white-crowned sparrows and canyon wrens, and it wasn't them. Even had I seen the little dudes, I'd probably not have been able to identify them. Happy enough just to be an ear tourist.

Rialto Beach, June 9, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

There was a lot of kelp on the beach, each big mound a single plant— but brown kelp are not plants, they are in the Kingdom Chromista (1)(2)— torn loose and bundled up onto the shore. Wonder just where, out there, the kelp beds are. Plenty of nice waves. The tide was coming in. I thought I didn't have the energy to run away from the waves outbound, or scramble through the drift on the return; so I turned back from my walk after a while, and sat on a log and read. Got so absorbed, a wave sneaked up and washed up my legs and into my hiking boots. Eeek.

Rialto Beach, June 9, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

Later I decided, oh I might as well go home; but when I got to the parking lot I realized, 'I can't leave now, the ocean is still making the sound of waves.' On this silly thought I went back out onto the beach in the other direction, and sat on another log. Pretty soon it occurred to me that if I can't leave while the ocean is making the sound of waves, I'd get to stay there forever. Oh, well, maybe that won't work, huh...

The foam in some places left iridescent bubbles in the wrack. (Click for larger image.)

The whole train of thought was so entertaining and silly it made me smile, and pretty soon I was smiling and feeling quite contented. I slid down off the log and sat in the sand and among the smooth stones, since the tide should by then be going out. A wave washed really rather close, however, and looking REALLY close since I was down at eye level with it.

Soundscape for Cee. Sorry there's so much wind. Rialto Beach, June 9, 2013.

Eventually I did come home. I presume the ocean is still making the sound of waves.

Shout-out to @shinyinfo , usually in urban Michigan, right now in California for a librarian convention and Seeing the Ocean while she's there. She inspired the act of will that got me on the road, late late late but hey I got there. Also: thankyou, Olympic National Park.

Designated Duck

It's time for the Great Olympic Peninsula Duck Derby, the annual fundraiser for Olympic Medical Center. The Big Duck moved around town, letting people know where the table to buy a chance on a duck was at the moment. I 'bought' my one designated duck, #9162, when Big Duck and the signup table were at Swains General Store, and came home with a paper tying me to his number.

Big Duck styling at the Albertsons. My car parked behind him, for scale. (Click for larger image.)

A couple of weeks later, I was giving a good-luck greeting to the little ducks lined up on the signup table, which was then at Albertson's. The ladies offered me a little duck to take home. As did someone last year.

The derby was yesterday. #9162 didn't win anything for me. I hope he isn't disappointed. He and his 27,603 fellow ducks are probably by now on a truck on their way to the next small town fundraising for its safety net.

Little-buddy ducks in the kitchen. (Click for larger image.)

Planes and Boats and Trains

May 30th, one-day trip to Portland for the monthly medical adventure.

This was planned to be an Angelflight trip, but the weather was unstable all week and no pilot signed up for the southbound mission. At the last minute arranged to fly to Seattle on Kenmore Air, then Alaska Air to Portland. The actual tally of modes of transportation was six: car to the airport in Port Angeles, Kenmore's Cessna to Boeing Field, van shuttle to SeaTac, commuter plane to Portland, light rail from PDX to downtown, streetcar to OHSU on the South Waterfront.

Peninsula College (where I work) from the Kenmore Air flight, May 30, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

The familiar activities at the clinic building, Oregon Health and Science University's Center for Health and Healing: lab work, something to eat and some coffee, waiting to see Dr. P. up on the 7th floor, talking to doctor, interns, research assistants, the research nurse. (It's a clinical trial, you will remember. I am a science project.) Posting to twitter. Studying the view through the window wall.

Zidell Yards has started laying a new barge down there by the foot of the tramway. They made visible progress just in the couple of hours I was there. The previous barge— last seen on April 29 down on the ramp, apparently ready for launch— actually didn't set sail until May 22. South Waterfront blog has pictures. Its final paint job proclaims ST-23 a Shaver Transportation barge, and it's now on their fleet list. ST-23 will be going up and down through the locks on the Columbia River, carrying grain. Good luck to you, barge.

The Aerial Tram sails past the window wall on the 7th floor. May 30, 2013. (Click for larger image.)
Zidell Marine's new barge makes progress already (Click for larger image.)

The northbound transportation arrangements had rearranged themselves in the course of the day, with much emailing and mobile-phoning. My northbound Angelflight pilot, Jeremy, thought conditions weren't good for him to pick me up at the general aviation airport in Hillsboro (ice aloft), so he arranged a ticket for me on Alaska Air to Seattle, where he would pick me up and fly me on to Port Angeles. So the ground transportation Earth Angel, Tom, changed his plan and instead of fetching me to Hillsboro, he and his wife drove me out to PDX. I got on standby for an earlier flight than the one booked, and pretty soon was in Seattle. Jeremy met me at the curb and we headed through rush hour traffic for Renton Municipal Airport (map), where his flying club keeps its planes.

Getting ready in Renton (Click for larger image.)

Starting from someplace entirely different, the line of flight was all new territory until after we crossed Hood Canal.

Part of our line of flight. (Click for larger image.)

Then the camera lost the GPS signal, alas, so pins on the photo app stop there, and I can't tell just where we were for this random view of green Sequim hinterlands...

Sequim below, May 30, 2013 (Click for larger image.)
The log yard is filling up again; Port Angeles harbor. (Click for larger image.)

Jeremy made a featherlight landing in Port Angeles, and pulled in to Rite Brothers FBO. I walked down the way to the airport terminal, where I had left my car at 5AM, so many transitions ago it was impossible to believe it was still the same day.

Thank you to Jeremy, Tom, and Angelflight, and all the kindly people at OHSU, too.

Back in Port Angeles (Click for larger image.)

The River, The River

Tom Roorda flew over the river again on May 28. As usual, thankyou to Mr. Roorda for permission to share his images.

The Elwha River flows into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Photo by Tom Roorda. (Click for larger image.)

Sea Voyage to Another Country (Again)

May 24th, went over to Victoria to hang out with PW and WC. It was a beautiful morning for the crossing.

May 24, 2013. Port Angeles from the stern deck of the ferry. Looking good. (Click for larger image.)
Still sunny when we got to the other side. Victoria Harbor, May 24, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

Usually we drive west along the West Coast Road, it's a reflex: 'I dunno, why don't we head out to French Beach, maybe we could have a fancy dessert at the Point No Point Inn and look across the Strait to Clallam Bay, ooh, shall we go to Jordan River.' This time instead we went not west but north, where Victoria proper backs up into the Saanich Peninsula and becomes Greater Victoria. We went to Quick's Bottom Park and took a walk. It's a wetland, it was quite preposterously green. Managed to find the decrepit old bird blind, though it was midday and not many birds to see (and no pix). We ventured onto back roads.

Quick's Bottom, Saanich, BC. May 24, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

The next day we set forth in search of Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. It was rumored to be an easy walk to Tod Inlet. We trundled down a ways along the slope below where Butchart Gardens is, then came to a trail sign that made clear there was much further to go, and besides it was thinking about raining, so we turned back.

Random woodsiness on the trail to Tod Inlet, May 25, 2013 (Click for larger image.)

We had lunch in Brentwood Bay, while it absolutely poured down rain into the marina and on all the decks of the restaurant. Then explored local roads. Went out to Willis Point, wherever that is (by then I was turned around 180 degrees, thought we were looking east when we were looking west).

The end of the road at Willis Point, where the houses run out and by golly there's a boundary sign for Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. Where for heaven's sake were we? (Click for larger image.)

A rest, a quick stop to say hello to one of PW's daughters at her downtown job, and I was back on the ferry for the journey home. As usual, took several dozen photos of water taxis while the ferry loaded; also seaplanes, tall ships, cruise liners. It started raining again halfway across the Strait.

The Coho coming in (Click for larger image.)
(Click for larger image.)
The flock of cruise ships that will leave before midnight, arrive in Seattle the next morning, and set sail again at 4PM. (Click for larger image.)

The bottom pins are Victoria harbor. The one to the east, WC & PW's yard. In the middle of the peninsula, Quick's Bottom by the highway 17 sign, Tod Inlet righthand upper pin, Willis Point to the left.

(Click for larger image.)